Indiana State University Newsroom

Fass to speak about the Slow Food movement on Feb. 25

February 17, 2010

Slow food, the movement of cooking at home using locally grown products, will be discussed at Indiana State University on Feb. 25.

Marion Fass, chair of the Beloit University biology department and health and society program, will speak about "Slow Food," while exploring the impact of globalization on the food supply, the cultural and economic choices involved in food consumption and the loss of biodiversity from those choices.

On Feb. 25, the evening begins at 6 p.m. with a social hour, featuring slow foods from Indiana, in the Heritage Ballroom of Tirey Hall. Fass's presentation is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

"A lot of people are becoming interested again in local and organic foods because of health reasons," said Jim Speer, associate professor of geography and geology, about slow food. "It's the opposite of fast food. You know what's going into your meal unlike processed food."

Fass taught "Slow Food" as a course at Beloit as part of a Science Education for New Civic Engagement and Responsibilities (SENCER) initiative. Her students explored what foods were available locally as well as the impact of food production practices on the environment. She also has taught SENCER classes on HIV/AIDS, emerging infectious diseases and women's health.

"We're excited to have Marion coming because she's been with SENCER since 2001," Speer said. "She's done a lot with her classes that will be of interest to students and educators."

During the fall semester, Indiana State began implementing the SENCER program to improve undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. SENCER encourages universities to give students hands-on experience through projects that affect their communities, which Indiana State encourages as well, Speer noted.

Fass will be meeting with Indiana State professors during two sessions on Feb. 26 to lead discussions on creating SENCER-based classes.

SENCER fits under ISU's Strategic Plan of advancing experiential learning and "applying the science of learning to the learning of science," Speer said.

"It's a way to make the sciences and mathematics more engaging to students and it promotes interdisciplinary education," he said.

SENCER improves science education by focusing on real world problems and, by so doing, extends the impact of this learning across subjects to the broader community and society.

"That way students can relate their learning to what they already know and interests them so it's not just random bits of knowledge," Speer said.

Speer also noted that hands-on learning is one of ISU's tenets.

"It's already something ISU is doing quite well," he said. "This is just cataloging what we do and taking it farther in our education system."

By doing so, it also affects students learning.

"If students get a connection with a project then they hold onto what they learn," Speer said. "They then become empowered and engaged with the learning process."

Contact: Jim Speer, Indiana State University, associate professor of geography and geology, at 812-237-3011 or

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or